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WWII Filipino Veterans and Their Struggle
Transcript of WWII Filipino Veterans and Their Struggle
World War II Hits Home
Japanese forces begin to occupy the Philippines.
Filipinos in America feel the obligation to protect and honor their homeland.
Filipino-American soldiers were part of the U.S. Army Forces and Filipinos residing in the Philippines aided the U.S. as guerrilla soldiers.
Ability to become citizens.
U.S. Military promised Filipino soldiers full veteran benefits after the war.
Benefits included pension and healthcare.
Filipino Veteran's Fairness Act
Since the Rescission Act of 1964, Filipinos and Filipino veterans have been fighting to gain their rightful justice.
Name for many acts that haven been introduced Congress since 1993.
All of these bills strive to provide citizenship and benefits to Filipinos who served in the military.
The bills have been proposed to committee by both parties.
Movements for Justice
Other than bills proposed and compensations, there have been many movements regarding the support for Filipino Veterans.
On November 11, 2013 on the Hollywood Boulevard hundreds went out to support and get justice for Filipino veterans.
"banks got bailed out, veterans got sold out.”
Protest organized by a group called Justice for Filipino American Veterans and ANSWER LA.
Protesters were specifically calling for more recognition of Filipino American veterans of World War II.
The Benefits Fairness for Filipino Veteran's Act of 2013 was a bill assigned to a committee on September 27, 2013.
This act is supposed to amend Title 38, a United States Code that will, "modify the method of determining whether Filipino veterans are United States residents for purposes of eligibility for receipt of the full-dollar rate of compensation under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs."
It will determine if Filipino veterans are U.S. residents or not.
This bill has a
7% chance of getting passed in the committee and
only a 1% chance of getting enacted.
World War II
After two years of the start of WWII, America finally joins because of the tragedy of the Bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The day after the assault, President Franklin D. declares war and Congress approves.
Filipinos wanted to enlist but could not because they were classified as, "nationals."
F.D.R. finally includes Filipinos in draft law.
In 1941, more than 250,000 Filipino soldiers responded to President Roosevelt's call-to-arms.
Daniel, Jaime, Javier, & Michelle
Rescission Act of 1946
On February 18, 1946 Congress passed and President Truman signed Public Law 70-301 which was the Rescission Act of 1946.
This unjust act stated that ....
The "reasoning" behind the act was that the U.S. had already given the Philippines $200 million after the war.
The Horrors of WWI
Throughout the war, Filipino American soldiers faced many struggles and horrors.
One example of one of the most horrific events that Filipino American soldiers as well as American soldiers faced in WWII, was the battle in Bataan.
This tragic and atrocious event was also known as the, "Death March."
Some of the areas where guerrillas were located.
Cool Song dedicated to Filipino Veterans
"Broken Promises" - ReVision
However, things took a turn to an unjust and unbelievable path...
Large group of American
POW's awaiting the beginning of the Death March.
The Struggle Continues
Every single bill that has been proposed has died in the committee for Veteran's Affairs.
Filipino Veteran's Equity Compensation Fund
On February 17, 2009 Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
Eligible veterans who are U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $15,000.
Eligible veterans who are not U.S. citizens receive a one-time payment of $9,000.
Payments would be made through the Department of Veteran's Affair from a $198 million appropriation established for this purpose.
Since 2011, 42% of veteran's have been rejected from this compensation.
Where is the Justice?
Interview of Marcelo Arellano
A Filipino Veteran
Many legislators have proposed bills and have attempted to pass them, but they are always neglected in committee.
Most recently, U.S. Representative Jackie Speier, democrat of San Francisco, wrote H.R. 210 — the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act — which would provide full military benefits for Filipino veterans.
Although it seems like progress and hope, the bill still remains in the committee and there is no telling of when it will be brought up again.
Protestors march on Hollywood Boulevard to raise awareness about the lack of support given to Filipino-American veterans.
A Powerful Moment
On August 17, 2012, a group of WWII Filipino Veterans turned over their uniforms and service medals in a symbolic protest against the injustice of their denial of veteran benefits.
They were waiting on the H.R. 210, a Filipino Veteran's Fairness Act of 2011, which would expand the eligibility for veteran's benefits.
However, the deadline for the Congress passed and the bill was denied a hearing.
The fight continues to stay strong.
What We Can Learn From This Event
We must remember this event as an unjust action that took place in America.
Filipino veterans were cheated. They need to be respected and benefited like all other veterans.
We must take this unforgivable action as a lesson; to learn from it and not let it happen again.
1. Why do you think Senators can't get a bill past the Veteran's Affairs Committee?
2. Learning about this event, how does it make you feel about American history?
3. Do these movements, and the determination of Filipino veterans inspire you?
4. Do you think most Filipinos were grateful that MacArthur returned?